Have you ever looked at a coin roll and wondered how many coins are contained in each one?
Beyond the usual $.50 per penny roll or 40 nickels to complete a $2 roll, the denominations can become less self-explanatory the higher the face value and greater the physical thickness of a coin.
Here is a breakdown of how many coins are in each roll and their respective denominations, along with a brief history of how the coin roll came about and why we continue to use it to this day. Additionally, you'll find a few tips from Bellevue Rare Coins to help you hunt down some soon-to-be-treasured coins.
- Penny Rolls – 50 pennies, 50 cents
- Nickel Rolls – 40 nickels, $2
- Dime Rolls – 50 dimes, $5
- Quarter Rolls – 40 quarters, $10
- Half Dollar Rolls – 20 half dollars, $10
- Large/Silver Dollar Rolls – 20 large silver dollars, $20
- Small Dollar Coin Rolls – 25 small dollar coins, $25
- $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagle Coin Rolls – 40 Gold Quarter Eagle $2.50 coins, $100
- $5 Gold Half Eagle Coin Rolls – 40 Gold Half Eagle $5 coins, $200
- $10 Gold Eagle Coin Rolls – 50 Gold Eagle $10 coins, $500
- $20 Gold Eagle Coin Rolls – 25 Gold Eagle $20 coins, $500
History of the coin roll
While it remains undetermined exactly when the coin roll came into being, there is a great deal of speculation which postulates that banks began using them hundreds of years ago to efficiently store coins. In instances such as shipwrecks, coins have been discovered stacked upon each other, giving light to the idea they were once encapsulated in a paper coin roll prior to the papers' disintegration.
In the early 20th Century, an evolution of machinery led to the birth of the automated coin roller, allowing banks and the U.S. Mint to save laborious hours once spent rolling coins by hand. These early machine-rolled coins, when still intact, are now known as Original Bank Wrapped Roll coins and are valued far beyond their face value.
Why do we still use coin rolls?
Simply put, we continue to use coin rolls because it’s one of the most efficient ways to store large quantities of coins of a single denomination. Cataloging particular coins works exceptionally well if you need to have an individual item on hand quickly but when a collector is searching through sacks of coins for a buffalo nickel or wheat penny, the best way to organize and return the unwanted coins to the bank is in the form of a coin roll.
Tips for finding rare coins in coin rolls
Many collectors can attest to spending hours upon hours of sifting through a sack of coins and coin rolls in the hopes of finding any coin of value. Most of those coin collectors will also tell you the story, with a nostalgic glimmer in their eye, of the time doing so resulted in them finding a Lincoln wheat penny or an Indian Head penny, a Jefferson wartime nickel, and error coins.
When compared to purchasing a rare coin outright, scouring through coin rolls can seem very time-consuming and tedious. If you agree, it may be of interest to keep the following ideas in mind when embarking on your hunt through coin rolls.
- Make friends with your bank teller – Ask if they have seen any older coin rolls lately and if and when they do, to please keep you in mind.
- Become familiar with years that are notorious for error coins – 1972 and 1982 are well-known for erroneous ’82 Kennedy half dollars missing initials and ’72 cent pieces being double died. Picking up a few books on coin collecting or researching online will offer a great deal of knowledge to help you figure rolls more likely to contain a prize.
- Especially for silver coin hunting – When searching for silver dimes or silver quarters, remember to examine the rims first. As 90% silver coins do not hold an orange or brownish seam along the rim, you will be able to quickly recognize a copper-nickel piece versus a real silver coin.
- Search coin rolls with higher quantities of coins – For instance, pennies and half dollar have more coins per roll when compared to other denominations, meaning you’ll search through fewer rolls to find a coin of value.
For more information or tips on coin collecting and coin hunting via coin rolls, visit with one of our experts at any of our four Bellevue Rare Coins locations.
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Since 1979, Bellevue Rare Coins has been a trusted, family-owned business serving the Greater Seattle Area with locations in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Issaquah, and West Seattle. Specializing in gold, silver, diamond, and jewelry purchasing, in addition to dealing in rare coins. We now offer a vast selection of fine, vintage and custom designed jewelry. Visit anyone of our four friendly locations for the best deals selling or buying.